Monthly Archives: May 2020

What is a Paraprosdokian?

A paraprosdokian is a long word to describe a short phrase that is familiar to most of us–but then it veers off into an unexpected conclusion. Here are some examples:

1. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.

2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you …but it’s still on my list.

3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak

4. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.

5. We never really grow up — we only learn how to act in public.

6. War does not determine who is right, only who is left.

7. Knowledge, is knowing a tomato is a fruit Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

8. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

9. I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

10. In filling out an application, where it says, “In case of an emergency, notify…” I answered “a doctor.”

11. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

12. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

13. I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not so sure.

14. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

15. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian, any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

16. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.

17. I’m supposed to respect my elders, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to find someone older than me.

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Filed under All things having to do with the English language

For Want of a Comma, a Suitcase Got Ironed

You have probably learned that in addition to VP Pence’s exposure to a staff member who has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus (Steven Miller’s wife, by the way) (I still cannot believe someone agreed to marry him, but I digress), Trump’s personal valet has also tested positive. This is the valet who serves him all his meals. Apparently, Trump, who refuses to wear a mask for reasons of vanity, became livid when he heard the news.

This is how the incident was reported in the press:

At the residence, they [his three valets] do his laundry, iron and pack his suitcases, a former White House official said.

What fascinates me is that it might be necessary to iron one’s suitcases. What a difference a comma can make.

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Emigrate or Immigrate?

You often hear and see these two words used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference in their meanings. It depends on whether you are coming or going.

IMMIGRATE is the word to use when referring to people entering a new country: Canada has experienced great interest from people wanting to immigrate to that country from the United States.

EMIGRATE is used to refer to people leaving a country to take up residence elsewhere: Many people are considering emigrating from the United States to Canada .

Sadly, the US/ Canadian border has been closed because of the pandemic, so both words can be used only wishfully by some.

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Filed under All things having to do with the English language